Those who support the second amendment state that it simply reads “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Supporters never seem to add that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia’s opinion states specifically that there is room in the amendment for gun safety legislation. This is what Justice Scalia said:
“Of course, the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment’s right of free speech was not…it is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
All of us should have the right to a safe environment to include responsible gun ownership on the part of all our citizens.
When this amendment was written hundreds of years ago, we were at war with an invading force. Men between the ages of 16 and 65 with few exceptions were not just “allowed” to have muskets. They were required to have muskets. They did not walk around town with muskets strapped to their backs. The muskets were left at home. When their towns were threatened by the British, the men ran home to get their guns.
A quote by Thomas Jefferson is displayed on the Dorchester County Maryland for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Facebook Page. Jefferson said, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . . disarms only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”
I do not believe that Jefferson’s words from centuries ago apply to our situation today. I taught English in one of the largest state prisons in our country for sixteen years, and many of my inmate students committed vicious crimes with guns they took or were given from gun owners who had bought them legally. In my criminal justice classes where I sat side by side with many police officers, we learned that unsecured gun ownership is a primary reason for home break-ins.
Besides, no one is trying to disarm gun owners, something which has been determined to be impossible with the millions of guns in the hands of our citizens. The second amendment is firmly in place. Putting some stipulations on gun handling is not the slippery slope the NRA claims it is. People are killed in car accidents every day in our country. We have an age requirement to drive cars as well as required driving safety training. Why should guns be any different? Of course, none of the proposed legislation this session in Annapolis attempts to do even that.
I lived with a gun-owner for many years, and I often tutored young children in our home. Despite my pleas that he secure his weapons and our having a large gun safe, I continually found loaded guns in various rooms within easy reach of the kids I was tutoring. The implication that all gun-owners are responsible, law-abiding citizens as the Dorchester County Maryland for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Facebook Page suggests is not consistent with my own personal experience.
The Dorchester County Council has decided to block all proposed gun safety legislation proposed in Annapolis this year. This includes SB0646 and HB0636 which require that gun-owners do not store or leave their guns in places where kids can get them. The Trace, a well-respected authority on gun issues, states that 110 people are killed every day in the U.S. by gun violence, nine of whom are kids. It is the second largest cause of death for children, after car crashes.
Is it really that inconvenient to secure our weapons when we are not around? This is not hard. All gun owners should have a gun safe.
I totally understand that owning guns makes some people feel safe. I get it. However, I have known a lot of gun owners and not one of them wants to find one of their children shot to death because they left a gun within easy reach.